Thursday, June 30, 2005

A sick and dangerous man.

I almost forgot-- after the Blue Velvet screening, from a guy in the row behind me, this:
"You owe me after dragging me to this. We're going home and watching the Golden Girls DVD with commentary."

Seeing something that was always hidden.

I almost skipped out on the chance to see Blue Velvet projected at the ArcLight, but knew I'd kick myself if I did. So I hauled ass last night and... was totally disheartened. Not by the film (which remains as hypnotic and unsettling as ever) or the print (which, despite a warning from the AFI Programmer on hand, wasn't that bad), but by one of the most appalling audiences I've encountered. I understand that when you get a roomful of (supposed) fans of a cult film, things can get rowdy. I had no problem with (and joined in) the applause at nearly every single name in the main title sequence or the ovation at Frank Booth's beer critique, but the laughter at damn near everything was enraging.
A month ago, after a contentious screening at Cannes, A.O. Scott blogged about laughing at movies, specifically pointing out that when one laughs at a scene that isn't funny, it's not necessarily out of derision. ("Sometimes it is an involuntary response to a surprise, or a sudden tonal shift. Sometimes you laugh to dispel your nervous anticipation that something terrible is going to happen. ") All completely valid points and, to be fair, Blue Velvet is filled with sudden tonal shifts, uncomfortable moments, and scenes of unrelenting dread. But that's not what this audience seemed to be reacting to. There were inexplicable bursts of laughter at little moments (I'm not sure why the audience roared when Kyle MacLachlan grabs the keys to Isabella Rossellini's apartment) and at core moments that just don't deserve laughter. Near the end of the film, when the completely naked Rossellini is dumped, bruised and dazed, in front of MacLachlan and Laura Dern, I would accept nervous tittering. The gales of laughter that drowned out that scene (and the one that followed) went from merely annoying to offensive. I'm not quite sure what's so hi-larious about that kind of violence.
Whatever, I'm ranting and it's probably not all that interesting, but before switching subjects, am I fundamentally misreading the film? I don't think, however you read the film, the intensity of the laughter was justified. That said, am I missing something? Of course I can see that Lynch is often playing with imagery and circumstances that are both horrifying and darkly comic (uh, the scene leading up to and including "In Dreams," anyone?), but I don't really see it as a satire (as, say, Roger Ebert does or last night's pigfucking audience might've). Sure, Lynch is working with archetypes and conventions and his pop-cultural obsessions (Hardy Boys, Shadow of a Doubt, film noir, Roy Orbison, '50s nostalgia, etc.) but I don't think he's satirizing them. Fetishizing them? Obvs. Satirizing/mocking? Nope. (If you think I'm naively/woefully offbase, please tell me.)

Speaking of Lynch's obsessions, seeing Blue Velvet on the big screen really made the Edward Hopper influence stick. You always hear about a Lynch/Francis Bacon connection, but I was struck by the look/palette of both Dean Stockwell's place and Rossellini's apartment--not to mention the lady in blue imagery--in relation to Hopper's art.* (The image captures don't quite do justice to either works, but what can you do?)
All right, enough BV rambling. Here's some fun alternate casting trivia before I head off into this strange world: Rossellini, MacLachlan, and Dern were all second choices for their respective roles. The first choices? Helen Mirren as Dorothy, Val Kilmer as Jeffrey, and Molly Ringwald as Sandy. (!)

* That was kind of pathetically film school-y, but I can't help it. Forgive me.

Are you my mom?

Damn you, sneaky Paul Thomas Anderson.
You make four films in a row that melt my brain, get in and out of a relationship with The Apple that spawns one perfect album and one great album, and now, after secretly seeing her for three years, you've knocked up my favorite SNL castmember.
Damn you and your perfect life, Paul Thomas Anderson. (And, you know, congrats on the bebe and all, but you could you please get around to making that next movie?)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Talking points memo.

As I live on the left coast, I often miss the President's primetime speeches (as I did this evening). Good thing I have Michelle Malkin covering them for me. Here's her summary of tonight's comments:
834pm EST. Real-time reaction. Just finished watching the speech with my kids. Good speech. Important messages:

-We're winning.
-We have more work to do.
-America is grateful to the troops...and so is the commander-in-chief.

Be sure to check out that website the President mentioned: America Supports You.

More later...

The sad thing is, that very well could be a verbatim transcript.


  1. Have you heard !!!'s "Take Ecstasy With Me"? It's a Magnetic Fields cover* and methinks it's even better than the original. The !!! crew retain the song's bittersweetness but amp up the beats and also add layers of guitar distortion and a lovely Casio synth bit that reminds me of that Cyndi Lauper song in The Goonies** or the keyboard meltdown in Radiohead's "Let Down."

  2. I caught a screening of Jacques Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped on Sunday. It's a gritty-but-stylish remake of James Toback's Fingers, featuring a stellar performance from Romain Duris as a twentysomething torn between being his father's son (working as a thug) and his mother's (developing his talent as a concert pianist). You really couldn't ask for a better slice of French genre filmmaking.

  3. In an effort to rid his life of clutter and all things McSweeney, my friend Pier sent me Believer's 2005 Music Issue (sans the nu-folk comp that comes with it; trust me, I'll live without it). Could that crew have their heads any further up their asses? I know their mission is to remain snark free, but Christ that thing is dry and joyless. (And where is their White Liberal Guilt? Not a single piece on a musician of color?) I will admit that I enjoyed learning that Beck's song "Debra" was a response to the explicitly honest R. Kelly jawn "I Like the Crotch on You" (as opposed to, say, Dianetics). I am seriously considering the iTunes purchase of said Kelly track.

  4. Driving down Olympic Blvd. during lunch, I spotted a poster in a restaurant which read:


    It made me happy.

  5. El Presidente de Fagistan has resumed blogging and the world is a better place for it. How could it not be when Joshua concludes a rant with: "Nice young ladies should spend their time crocheting prochoice potholders and burning their bras during a festive tiki party, not writing about how one specific young woman is an atrocious disease-carrying whorebag"?

* Only Stephin Merritt could write a song about ingesting MDMA and make it sound like some wistful, romantic rite of passage.

** Not "Goonie R Good Enough" the other one that plays during the sequence when the kids have tied up Brand and they begin their adventure, whizzing down that hill on their bikes.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Armond White is officially the King of Haterade.
Is there another critic that can dismiss a film with such casual vitriol and erudition? Check out this opening sentence:
"If I had never seen a film by D.W. Griffith, Antonioni, Ozu, John Ford, Vincente Minnelli or Prince, I might have been impressed by performance artist Miranda July's Cannes award-winning directorial debut, Me and You and Everyone We Know. "
For the record, I thought July's film was charming; funny-sad and whimsical and odd, bordering on the precocious but with talent and wit that justifies it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Her farewell to the newspaper business.

I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that Anita Busch's life would make for an excellent His Girl Fridayish black comedy. (Obviously, anything that aims for the level of HGF is bound to fall short, but I needed a reference point.)
In a nutshell, Busch worked for nearly a decade in Los Angeles as an entertainment journalist, cultivating a rep for being difficult and ruthless. She abruptly ended her career when an investigation into Steven Seagal's alleged mob connections resulted in a death threat that no one took very seriously. (The threat: her car windshield was smashed, a note which read "STOP" placed next to the shatter, and package containing a fish and a rose was dropped in her car.) People doubted the veracity of the story (largely because it seemed too cinematic to be true) and Busch dropped out of sight. Busch's story was legitimized this past week, when the Los Angeles D.A. charged Anthony Pellicano, "Private Investigator to the Stars," with conspiracy/threatening Busch.
C'mon, how great is that? As if the overview isn't perfect, Nikki Finke has a piece on Busch in this week's LA Weekly and drops personal tidbits like this:
Typical is this anecdote from a new employee at Variety who on his first day tried to introduce himself. “I didn’t know she was on the phone. I walk up to her and say, ‘Hi, I’m . . . ’ And just as I’m about to say my name, she starts shouting, ‘Oh yeah? Well, fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.’ Every time she says ‘Fuck you,’ she is slamming her headset on the desk. She flings it away and it breaks into 20 pieces. She puts her hand out and says, ‘Hi, I’m Anita.’”

Perfecto methinks.

Hanging in Vegas.

Back from my 30 hour Vegas jaunt and playing catch-up.
How was the Wynn hotel? As the kids say: binoculars. If I had more time, I'd've gone around and just taken pictures of all the carpet and wallpaper and ceilings and fixtures just to show y'alls how amazing and weird and textured the place is. But that whole work thing got in the way, so you lose.
I did manage to sneak in a visit in to the Wynn Gallery to check out fifteen pieces from Mr. Wynn's art collection, including paintings by Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh, and the world's only privately held Vermeer. Upon entry you get one of those little audio-guide thingies that are (ostensibly) there to give you insight and background into each painting as you look at it. On this tour the ubiquitous Mr. Wynn gave the audio tour and let's just say that art history is not necessarily his forte.

Forget about any mention of Vermeer's use of chiaroscuro or his technique, Wynn wants you to know that it took ten years to verify that "Young Woman Seated At The Virginals" actually was a Vermeer and that he had to fight for it, so that it could hang in Vegas. Why was it so important that this painting hang in Vegas? Who knows, he doesn't say. My guess is that Wynn knew the picture would look pretty great after four straight hours of playing the slots, two foot-long margaritas, and a trip to the MGM Grand buffet.

His commentary on Sargent's portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson is more illuminating. Oh, it doesn't include a discussion of Sargent's palette or why Madame Stevenson appears to be covered in a burka. Instead, we learn that after creating the mega-resort Treasure Island, Wynn felt it his obligation to show Vegas visitors a portrait of the man who inspired his vision. (I'm sure Mr. Stevenson would be thrilled to know that his writing not only lead to the creation of Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical, but those classy pirate ship battles that occur every hour in front of Treasure Island: The Mega-Resort.)
After those two riveting discussions, I gave up on the audio tour and let the voices in my head do the rest of the narrating.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I guess he didn't like it.

"In an ideal world, Marshall and the Ephrons should have to sharecrop, for all the good they've done for the culture. "

-- Michael Atkinson concluding his review of Bewitched. (Tip o' the hat to Tim.)

And I thought what I felt was simple.

Andrew Unterberger at Stylus Magazine dissassembles (that means "to take apart into its constituent pieces ") and reconstructs Rhino Records' Whatever: The 90s Pop Culture Box as he sees fit.
It's often suspect (of LFO's 1999 hit, "Summer Girls," he writes "No song puts a smile on my face like this.") and occasionally dead wrong (I'm pretty sure his entry on Lisa Loeb's "Stay"--where he declares "Joni Mitchell never had a song that was half this good, and the 90s in general didn’t get much better than this"--is totally serious and unironic), but it's an entertaining (and thorough) nostalgia trip.

Checking in.

Much to tell you about--such as the screening of Bertolucci's sublime The Conformist (with Elvis "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is like eating a bowl of Honeycomb drenched in Red Bull" Mitchell in attendance!) at the Los Angeles Film Festival--but I'm swampped at work. It's a good swamped, I'm leaving tommorw for a one-day, work-related trip to Las Vegas*. Huzzah to that.

I might be checking in lates, but if not, make sure you stop by Fluxblog and check out the new Goldfrapp goodness.

Oh and I leave you with this moment of zen:
"Tarantino knew all the dolls by heart. He was [saying] 'No, I don't want to sign the Meygan doll; I want to sign the Cloe doll."
--Dave Malacrida, VP of PR for Bratz Dolls, recounting the time he approached QT to get him to autograph a Bratz doll for a Tsunami Relief auction.

* I am looking forward to this whole Vegas trip thing (free night at the Wynn, yo) but I must admit that my attitude towards Vegas is pretty much in alignment with Mr. Blagg.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Bellz and whistlez.

If you like your electro-disco-dancing-music to be spacey and swaggering and kindasorta menacing, check out these four tracks from Aphex Twin--sorry--AFX's Analord 08. Yummy.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Here, there, everywhere.


  1. Batman Begins was about as much as I can ask for from a summer movie. That sounds totally condescending, but it's not. I use to love nothing more than to escape the heat and sit in the cool air conditioning and eat popcorn and watch shit explode in a really entertaining manner. For whatever reason (mayhap it's that I'm no longer a teenager), these summer movies have faltered and lost all their fun. I've never warmed to most of the Marvel comic book movies and Michael Bay (and his clones) makes me want to kill. But I have to hand it to Christopher Nolan, he's crafted something immensely satisfying and kinetic and textured. Of course, I have my quibbles (every time the baddie reveals his dastardly master plan in these kinds of movies I hate it-- this was no exception) but they're minor in comparison to the fun I had.

  2. A few thoughts/obervations from the trailers before BB:
    Dukes of Hazzard: The mental image of Lynda Carter "warming up [her] muffin" (a direct [or nearly-direct] quote from the trailer) for Willie Nelson is like anti-Cialis and ipecac combined.

    Fantastic Four: Have any of them heard of "vocal inflection"? I guess if your name is Jessica Alba and you're that hot, it doesn't matter.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Well, the full trailer is certainly better than the wretched teaser. The production design is up to par (obvs) but why, oh why, is Johnny Depp playing Wonka as Michael Jackson? What is that about?

  3. It got better: head over to lemon-red for Kanye's "Diamonds (Remix)" featuring Jay-Z. Best part: Jigga rapping about how Memphis Bleek is in his will (?).

  4. Fluxblog's got a great demo version of Squeeze's "Tempted." In it, Glenn Tillbrook sings the lead and it's all Macca-sounding-goodness.

  5. There's something strangely hypnotic and undeniably great about this poster. I dare you to deny it.

Fugging excellent.

You guys are aware that the catty ladies of Go Fug Yourself write some of the most hilarious material on the Internets, right?
If you need to be reminded go read their accounts of (a) Leelee Sobieski's 23rd birthday party ("She got herself bailed out of jail so she could go straight to The Spider Club without missing a single slice of the Here On Earth-themed birthday cake she bought herself to remind everyone that She Is A Serious Actress Indeed, and not simply a block of wood with a garbled man-voice, as has been previously reported.") and (b) When Tom Met Dakota ("She is an extraordinary woman. Simply extraordinary. I could not be more fascinated by her. She is young. She is vital. She is BRILLIANT. I know you've heard these things before, but this time, I really mean them. It's true! Don't you doubters start telling Mav to pull up, yo! I will not pull up! IF YOU BELIEVE IN NOTHING, other than the divine word of the drug-busting dyslexia-curing master of spirituality, BELIEVE IN THIS.")

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More like hanging around.

Lately I've been compulsively listening to Aimee Mann's song "Ghost World." Part of the reason: it's a reliably hook-driven Mann composition filled with an instantly hummable melody. Most of the reason: I respond to it because of my pathetic inability to adjust to not having a summer "break" anymore. I miss being an introverted teenage nerd doing little to nothing in suburbia. (As opposed to being an introverted twentysomething nerd, doing little to nothing, but working a 9 to 5 7 in Los Angeles.)
Mann (via Daniel Clowes' graphic novel of the same name*) captures post-High School wasted-summers with typical wit and economy: "Everyone I know is acting weird / Or way too cool / they hang out by the pool / So I just read a lot and ride my bike / around the school."
The chorus is even better: "'Cause I'm bailing this town-- or / Tearing it down-- or / probably more like / hanging around, / hanging around." Ah yes, the age old "Fuck this small, stifling town, I'm leaving. Eh, on second thought, maybe we should go buy cigarettes and get coffee at IHOP and mope and talk about movies and the future (and try to ignore the creepy D&D kids in the corner)."
I can't believe that a song can make me nostalgic for that, but--what can I say?--it does.

* Yes, the same graphic novel that was turned into Terry Zwigoff's excellent film of the same name. But for the record, Ms. Mann's sonic adaptation predates the celluloid one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rant of the day.

Your Uncle Grambo pointed me in the direction of blagg blogg's 5 Movies I Wish People Would Stop Quoting and it made my afternoon richer. Allow me to reprint the entirety of Movie #2:
2. "Napoleon Dynamite" -- Vote for Pedro? No, I vote for you shutting the hell up. Napoleon Dynamite is the cinematic equivalent of the "Fun Pak" candy where you dip those sticks of sugar into the pouches of colored sugar - it tastes good for a second, but by the time it's over you want to throw up and have a root canal. Not to downplay my own annoyance with endless Napoleon impressions, but you know who I really feel sorry for? High school teachers. As if their job wasn't already hard enough, I'm sure they just love it when a room full of teenage girls shriek in laughter every time some smartass screams out, "It's a liger!". It's really no wonder we keep hearing these stories of high school teachers having sex with their students. Clearly, they're hate-fucking them, which is a problem that could probably be averted if everyone would stop saying, "Gosh!" and "Friggin' Idiot" every chance they get.

Don't you feel better now? I do. Hate-fucking, indeed.

Modest as ever...

...and, as always, with a firm grasp of historical perspective:

"The Jackson Web site trumpeted the acquittal with graphics declaring 'Innocent' and showing a hand giving a victory sign as a fanfare plays. A scrolling calendar highlights historic events such as 'Martin Luther King is born,''The Berlin Wall falls,''Nelson Mandela is freed,' and finally, 'June 13, 2005, Remember this date for it is a part of HIStory.' The reference was to Jackson's 1995 album 'HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book I.'"

Monday, June 13, 2005

"Fellini called the film an 'apocalyptic poem.'"

I'm working my way through Camille Paglia's, um, painstakingly-detailed, shot-by-shot analysis of The Birds. Don't get me wrong, it's an enjoyable and impressive piece of work-- but it's slow going.
To give you an example, here's an excerpt describing Melanie's (Tippi Hedren) reaction to that initial seagull attack. It's an important, symbolic moment... and Ms. Paglia isn't about to let you forget it:
Hitchcock has wonderfully choreographed it, so that as Melanie gasps (the bird's cry seems to speak for her), her right hand flies to her forehead while she makes a spasmodic, angular motion with her raised left-arm that is half-kabuki, half-Martha Graham. The whole thing has the assymetrical beauty of a chance gesture in Degas. The blow causes a collapse of social forms, like the portentious, grinding fracture of the stone baluster in Last Year at Marienbad (1961).

See? One gesture gave us that. But it's impressive, no? I wish I had the screen capture because the woman is dead-on. And mind you this follows a paragraph wherein she invokes Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs, the etymology of the worst 'ascot,' Cleopatra sailing into the Cydnus, and the Mona Lisa. (And just to be a completist, that excerpt precedes a paragraph that namedrops Lady Macbeth, Un Chien Andalou and Vertigo.)
Again: impressive, highly recommended, but a lot to digest.

The trouble with Marnie.

I think the contrarian in me wanted to like Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie. I knew going in that Marnie was a critical divider, with one camp claiming it as the final Hitch masterpiece and the other camp claiming it the film that started the Maestro's downward spiral. Having just watched--and worshipped--The Birds (especially 'Tippi' Hedren's perfect Hitchcockian ice princess routine), I was ready to champion the underloved Marnie.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
There's immense promise in the film (for Christ's sake it's a Hitchcock picture), but it's all so... flat and unfun and, er, frigid. The psychiatirc spiel at the end of Psycho was bad enough, but Sean Connery's bedside analysis of Tippi was enough for me to rethink Tom Cruise's comparitively nuanced beliefs on "the Nazi science."
What hurts most about my dislike for Marnie, is that I'm now on the cinephile outs-- specificially with critic Robin Wood. According to Ms. Wood: "If you don't like Marnie, you don't like Hitchcock. If you don't love Marnie, you don't love cinema."
But how does that square with Martin Scorsese's assertion that "[I]f you don't like the films of Sam Fuller, then you just don't like cinema"? I lurve Mr. Fuller's Pickup on South Street. Am I back in good graces? Doesn't a Scorsese trump a Wood?
Oh but then there's Armond. Leave it to Armond to throw a wrench into things: "Any reviewer who pans [Mission to Mars] does not understand movies, let alone like them." Well, I guess, since I'm not a bona fide "reviewer," I'm safe. That was a close one.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Livin' large.

I know it's the height of navel gazing to do so, but can I point out that Gary Indiana* left two comments on my blog? Hot damn.
And I stand corrected: Mr. Indiana is not wearing a boa in his author's photo, but a faux fur.

*I guess it could be a Gary Indiana impersonater, but I choose to believe it's the real deal.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More than you will know.

I don't have a whole lot to say about Anne Bancroft's passing that hasn't already been repeated ad nauseam. However, I do love this story from Ebert's remembrance:
George Anthony, chief of entertainment programming for the CBC, remembers that Bancroft and Brooks were a “genuine bonafide love match, in the early years almost as famous for their public battles as Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Todd.” He recalls one of their fights when he grabbed her arm and she pulled away from him. Anthony’s story:

"'Don't you dare touch my instrument'!” she raged, in her highest Actors Studio dudgeon.

"'Oh, so this is your instrument?'

"'Yes. This is my instrument!'

"'Okay. Play ‘Melancholy Baby’."

Getting X'd.

Oh Brett Ratner.
He really is the biggest douche bag working in Hollywood today. He did an interview with MTV defending his new job as director of X-Men 3 and trying his hardest to make everyone hate him even more. (And to be honest: I really don't care at all about the X-Men series. But good God do I hate some Ratner.) Here are some of the choice sound bites:
  • "Jackie Chan says Brett Ratner is the luckiest guy in the world and I feel like I am."

(Yes, he did just refer to himself in the third person and, yes, Jackie Chan speaks the truth.)
  • "I'm not Joel Schumacher and I'm not ... um ... who did the third Superman?"

(Richard Lester, asshole. And, no, you're not Joel Shumacher. But you're on par with him. Aw, fuck it. Flatliners is better than anything that Ratner's touched.)
  • "Well, there's also the fact that all the Supermans die a tragic death. Do you think the new guy [Brandon Routh] is going to die also?"

(This is Brett's super-sensitive response when asked about the myth that the third movie in a comic franchise kills it off. May the ghost of Christopher Reeve haunt him.)
  • "I'm Brett and all I know is what I know, what I can do and what I have to work with."

(That should make all involved sleep well tonight.)

Monday, June 06, 2005

All is right in the world.

After discovering this site, I can sleep at night. It's as if the world has suddenly snapped into focus.

(If/when you click the above link [and you best do so] please make sure the volume on your computer box is turned on. Thank you.)

Semi-to-not-at-all-related: Don't miss TMFTML skewering the fuck out of David Sedaris.
("'Listen,' she said, pointing a gnarled finger at me. 'This is New York. You need to give people their personal space.' And then, supposedly under her breath, but loud enough for everyone else on line to hear, 'Douchebag.'
I returned to the Jumble, desperate not to give her the satisfaction. 'I AM NOT MADE OF VINEGAR AND WATER,' I wrote in my paper, even though there weren't enough spaces.")

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The correction.

You get a haircut
Ordinary people laugh
Do friends? No they don't.

--Jonathan Franzen's haiku on friendship (written when he was in his junior high church group), as found in The New Yorker.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Very smarmy things.

The cinetrix links to this excellent interview with Glenn Kenny of Premiere Magazine. I have to reprint this bit (Mr. Kenny is asked if a director or screenwriter has ever contacted him to express displeasure with a review):

"I wrote a pretty contemptuous review of Very Bad Things back in 1998--it deserved nothing less--and its director Peter Berg told an assistant editor from the L.A. office who he ran into at some red-carpet event that he considered the notice 'Not fucking cool.' You can imagine the sleepless nights that caused. One of that same movie's co-stars, Jeremy Piven, was talking to another editor at a party in Chicago, and he asked her, I am told, a) how old I was and b) if I was British, which I thought was pretty hilarious."

Apparently old Anglos just won't get the subtle charms and nuances of VBT.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Arnold: 2, Girlie Men: 0.

Yes, that's pop cultural critic/novelist Gary Indiana. And, yes, he's wearing a feather boa. It's the author's photo used in his latest work, Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt. (Subtext: "Eat it, Terminator. I'm a girlie-man and I'm'a fuck you up.")
What sounded like a promising deconstruction of the intersection of politics and celebrity/film is, um, actually kinda crappy according to Marc Cooper in the LA Weekly. It seems that Mr. Indiana isn't so much interested in really digging into what happened in that 2003 election* and really exploring how pop culture shaped the outcome. No, he's content to offer up the same, tired bullshit about how dumb California voters are, how easily elections are bought and how the press manipulates us.
Cooper isn't having any of it:
There are much simpler explanations for what has transpired in California. An electorate thoroughly disgusted by the corrupt politics of both parties found itself slightly amused and guardedly optimistic that a wild card like Arnold could use his celebrity to make things a little better in a state that had seemed to lose its way. The voters elected him, gave him a one-year probation period, and when he began to fail, they started turning against him and now threaten his political future. Seems like good collective common sense to me. And in the meantime, no one was sent to Dachau.


* I haven't actually read any of Indiana's book, but I have picked it up and skimmed it in a store. The first "Houston, we have a problem" moment: the book jacket states that the recall election happened in 2002. Oops.

Crooked but never common.

If you've read (or owned or skimmed or borrowed) David Thomson's The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, you might've noticed that in the acknowledgment section, after every person thanked, their three favorite film are listed. Two titles pop up over and over: His Girl Friday and The Lady Eve.

I'm not the only one who noticed this-- it was brought up in this q&a. Mr. Thomson's response:
"Well, I think The Lady Eve and His Girl Friday now look like highpoints of a very American genre--the high-paced, romantic screwball comedy--where people may behave like children and idiots, but reveal profound truths about adult human nature. Along the way those films are just so funny, so skilled, and so entertaining. And I think people respond to them because we've lost the art of grown-up comedy."

Mr. Thomson don't lie.

(Tip o' the hat to Morgan for sending me the link.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ye olde blog challenge.

Now that Chrissy Hitchens' Thomas Jefferson: Author of America has been unleashed, I'm anxious to hear what a certain ardent Jeffersonian has to say/write/blog/whatever on said tome.

That's right, Joshua. You've been served.